Brief: Input Club and Massdrop disagree on a number of points regarding Halo switches. The resulting situation is an inconvenience for the Whitefox Kickstarter campaign and all involved parties.
Input Club's initial claims: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/le ... ts/1964996
Relevant text: "... when we tried to order switches for the WhiteFox/NightFox, Massdrop would not let us source them. They then claimed to own the “Halo” name and asked us to give up the license-back altogether, so we would essentially lose all access to our own invention."
Massdrop's reply: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/2342/mass ... tch-update
Relevant information: Massdrop makes contrary claims. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing so that you understand Massdrop's side of things.
I:C's reply to the Massdrop statement: https://input.club/official-halo-switch-statement/
Relevant information: I:C offers a point by point rebuttal of Massdrop claims. Once again, I recommend reading the whole thing. The key information on their page is a small segment of the purported contract, which I will include here.
I am conveying the following messages from Input Club:BEGINNING –
Limited License Back. Massdrop does hereby grant Designer a limited, non-exclusive and revocable license to use Massdrop’s Joint Inventions solely to the extent necessary for Designer to (i) perform Designer’s obligations under this Agreement; and (ii) to request manufacture of, and purchase, Products solely from the manufacturer designated in Exhibit C, and to sell products incorporating such Products to end users. Input Club (itself or with or through other entities) agrees to not distribute or sell such Products to resellers or distributors.
1. Massdrop has been notified that it is in breach of contract.
2. The license, at the time of this writing, has not been revoked.
My personal speculations (which are not endorsed by Input Club, and only allude to direct answers from Input Club in list items 1 and 3):
1. The word “request” probably refers to the manufacturer of Halo switches, not Massdrop. I speculate that Massdrop cannot, therefore, legally deny Halo switches to I:C. It may be in a separate clause behind a semicolon (ii) for that reason. I:C seems to have asked Massdrop to tell the manufacturer it was okay to produce Halo switches for I:C. Massdrop may have told the manufacturer that it wasn’t okay instead, which could be in direct violation of the snippet above.
2. “The license, at the time of this writing, has not been revoked.” This might mean that the license cannot be revoked at will, or without conditions being met. I:C would not confirm or deny that speculative point when posed with direct questions for legal reasons. The general public could have arrived at this hypothesis given the statements above, so I consider this (item 2) worth the rather small risk I am shouldering by posting my thoughts.
3. We (the public, of which I am a part in this situation as information is being withheld from me) might get more information if things proceed to court.
My opinion on the situation:
I'm not fond of this sort of back and forthing, but I think it was the only decent move that Input Club could make given what I know about the situation. If they announced out of the blue that there would be delays and changes, without definitive reason, their brand would have suffered. If they waited to announce a different agreement with Massdrop, assuming negotiations went well, there still would have been damage. I:C chose the least awful option in a no win scenario, in my opinion.
It would have been better, however, if the public outcry had been anticipated and IC had waited to include the items that I publicized above in their initial post. I don't think they expected this to blow up -- it was buried in plain text inside a Kickstarter update without any particular call to action besides a hurt tone.
I would like to emphasize again that my information is incomplete. This is the most objective and informative report I can offer on the subject. Please draw your own conclusions about the situation and discuss them below. I have confidence that the keyboard community can handle this peaceably.
New information may invalidate my personal speculations. If that occurs, I will update this topic to reflect such invalidations.